Concordia 4, Université de Montréal 3: Stingers Prove Their Might in National Rank Matchup
Stingers Show Resilience and Come From Behind Three Times to Earn OT Win
The Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team and the Université de Montréal Carabins battled it out on Friday night at the CEPSUM.
Both squads came into the matchup showing a perfect 3-0-0 record. The visiting Stingers were also ranked number one in the most recent U Sports rankings, followed by the reigning RSEQ champion Carabins.
Concordia earned their spot atop the rankings with some explosive offense, scoring 13 goals in three games. Montréal’s defensive prowess help them reach second place, allowing only two goals in three games before Friday’s action.
But it was the home side who jumped out in front with the 1-0 lead. It served as foreshadowing for the rest of the game, as the Stingers had to come back from behind on three separate occasions.
“I told the players that the greatest quality any of us can have is resilience,” said head coach Julie Chu. “We’re going to go through a lot throughout a season. We’re going to be down, up a goal, down two goals. We have to be resilient enough to bend but not break.”
The goal sparked a light in the Stingers game as they pressed on the forecheck in the offensive zone. The work eventually paid off when experienced team captain Claudia Dubois evened things up on an amazing individual effort just before the end of the first period.
The visitors got another crack at the power play to start the second. As it would be the case all night long, Concordia created some decent chances for themselves when the Carabins were short-handed, but they were not able to find the back of the net.
“We had some good opportunities in the first,” said Chu. “But we slowed down in the second half of the second. We tried to be too fancy, skipping passes when the lanes were there. We have to get back to the basics. Move the puck around, see what our options are and then once we have that, we’re going to open up some opportunities.”
The Stingers’ inability to capitalize on the power play ended up costing them right away as Montréal’s Joanie Garand put her team back on top seconds after the power play concluded.
But Concordia’s veterans were once again ready to bring them back from behind. Thirty seconds after Garand’s goal, Olivia Atkinson completed a three-on-one play with her first as a Stinger.
The Stingers’ power play unit had two opportunities to put their team up ahead following the equalizer.
Their lack of finish on the special teams unit proved to be even more frustrating when Montréal’s Estelle Duvin intercepted a puck in the defensive end, beating Stingers goaltender Alice Philbert on a shorthanded breakaway.
Unaware there was more action to come, fans were glued to their seats as both teams went back and forth in the period.
On a text book play, the Stingers grinded out the Carabins deep in the offensive zone, keeping the puck below the blue line. Managing to create some space for herself in the middle of the zone, Marie-Pascal Bernier fired the one-timer past Racine on a timely pass from teammate Audrey Belzile.
“Marie’s goal was really nice,” said Chu. “She kind of shot it through a screen. It went higher. You have to find a lot of different ways to be successful. Getting pucks on net is the first one.”
Despite three opportunities on the power play in the third, Montréal was getting a taste of their own medicine as the Stingers were able to shut them down.
Concordia also got an amazing chance to finally take the lead in the third when they were awarded a power play with 41 seconds to play.
Unable to end this one in regulation, Concordia found themselves in the best position possible beginning overtime at 4-on-3. The dry spell pursued on the player advantage for the Stingers and the tie remained until the second overtime period.
After leaning on their veterans all game long for offensive support, it was rookie, Emmy Fecteau, who ended up being the hero. She tipped in a perfect pass from sophomore Rosalie Bégin-Cyr, scoring her first career goal in the RSEQ in the process.
“Emmy is one of those who’s been good since the start,” said Chu. “She’s been great. She wants to learn. She works hard and she was rewarded today with a great pass from Rosie.”
The Stingers will face another important challenge next weekend when they host the McGill Martlets on Friday night and the Carabins on Sunday afternoon, promising to be two quality matchups.